The United States Supreme Court recently ruled that execution by a commonly used protocol of drug administration does not represent cruel or unusual punishment. Various medical journals have editorialized on this drug protocol, the death penalty in general and the role that physicians play. Many physicians, and societies of physicians, express the opinion that it is unethical for doctors to participate in executions. This Target Article explores the harm that occurs to murder victims' relatives when an execution is delayed or (...) indefinitely postponed. By using established principles in psychiatry and the science of the brain, it is shown that victims' relatives can suffer brain damage when justice is not done. Conversely, adequate justice can reverse some of those changes in the brain. Thus, physician opposition to capital punishment may be contributing to significant harm. In this context, the ethics of physician involvement in lethal injection is complex. (shrink)
In this provocative book, John Keane calls for a fresh understanding of the vexed relationship between democracy and violence. Taking issue with the common sense view that 'human nature' is violent, Keane shows why mature democracies do not wage war upon each other, and why they are unusually sensitive to violence. He argues that we need to think more discriminatingly about the origins of violence, its consequences, its uses and remedies. He probes the disputed meanings of the term (...) violence, and asks why violence is the greatest enemy of democracy, and why today's global 'triangle of violence' is tempting politicians to invoke undemocratic emergency powers. Throughout, Keane gives prominence to ethical questions, such as the circumstances in which violence can be justified, and argues that violent behaviour and means of violence can and should be 'democratised' - made publicly accountable to others, so encouraging efforts to erase surplus violence from the world. (shrink)
In his book A Theory of Sentience, Austen Clark argues that the content of sensory representations can be expressed as sentences constructed from a language of sentience. Such sentences specify that a determinate feature obtains in a particular space-time region, but the language's limited vocabulary prohibits the sentences from referring or attributing features to objects. In this paper, I show that this view is flawed in at least two ways. First, if sensation has the capacities that Clark and others attribute (...) to it, then the vocabulary of sense extends further than he supposes, and a limited language of sentience cannot justify a prohibition of object representation within sentience. Second, even if the language of sentience is as impoverished as he claims, and thus even if the representational capacity of sentience is correspondingly limited, object individuation can plausibly occur at the level of sensation. In the course of defusing Clark's major argument for an “object-less” theory of sentience, I offer reasons to believe both that sensory representations can be impressively sophisticated in what they say about the world, and that object representations can be surprisingly basic. (shrink)
The purpose of this study was to illuminate the ethically difficult situations experienced by care providers working in a nursing home. Individual interviews using a narrative approach were conducted. A phenomenological-hermeneutic method developed for researching life experience was applied in the analysis. The findings showed that care providers experience ethical challenges in their everyday work. The informants in this study found the balance between the ideal, autonomy and dignity to be a daily problem. They defined the culture they work in (...) as not supportive. They also thought they were not being seen and heard in situations where they disagree with the basic values of the organization. The results are discussed in terms of Habermas’s understanding of modern society. Care settings for elderly people obviously present ethical challenges, particularly in the case of those suffering from dementia. The care provider participants in this study expressed frustration and feelings of powerlessness. It is possible to understand their experiences in terms of Habermas’s theory of modern society and the concept of the system’s colonization of the life world. (shrink)
The Future of Representative Democracy poses important questions about representation, representative democracy and their future. Inspired by the last major investigation of the subject by Hanna Pitkin over four decades ago, this ambitious volume fills a major gap in the literature by examining the future of representative forms of democracy in terms of present-day trends and past theories of representative democracy. Aware of the pressing need for clarifying key concepts and institutional trends, the volume aims to break down barriers among (...) disciplines and to establish an interdisciplinary dialogue among scholars. The contributors emphasise that representative democracy and its future is a subject of pressing scholarly concern and public importance. Paying close attention to the unfinished, two-centuries-old relationship between democracy and representation, this book offers a fresh perspective on current problems and dilemmas of representative democracy and the possible future development of new forms of democratic representation. (shrink)
Institutional Review Boards are confronted with new challenges in the face of expanding technologies while fulfll-ing their existing regulatory mandate to ensure that plans are in place to protect subjects and to inform them of risks and benefts of research participation. Existing regulations and guidance do not address the issue of incidental fndings , thus leaving awareness of the issue and the application of ethical principles to IRB judgment alone. In order to assure that researchers are aware of the potential (...) for IFs, IRBs must identify which studies are likely to identify IFs and establish what plans should be put into place prior to study initiation to assure the subjects are appropriately informed of the likelihood of IFs, how IFs will be communicated to subjects, and whether the burden of follow-up falls on the researchers or is the subject's responsibility. (shrink)
Anthropology combines two quite different enterprises: the ethnographic study of particular people in particular places and the theorizing about the human species. As such, anthropology is part of cognitive science in that it contributes to the unitary theoretical aim of understanding and explaining the behavior of the animal species Homo sapiens. This article draws on our own research experience to illustrate that cooperation between anthropology and the other sub-disciplines of cognitive science is possible and fruitful, but it must proceed from (...) the recognition of anthropology’s unique epistemology and methodology. (shrink)
The doctor patient relationship starts with a story. Doctors' notes, a patient's chart, the recommendations of ethics committees and insurance justifications all hinge on written and verbal narrative interaction. The "practice" of narrative profoundly affects decision making, patient health and treatment and the everyday practice of medicine. In this edited collection, the contributors provide conceptual foundations, practical guidelines and theoretical considerations central to the practice of narrative ethics.
This essay investigates the tensions produced by the categorization of different forms of excessive desire under the singular model of addiction, and it challenges the increasing acceptance of addiction as an all-purpose explanation for unruly desires through a comparison of the different forms of disordered desire in sex addiction and alcoholism. Moreover, it argues for a broad understanding of addictive processes to undermine the normative and moralizing assumptions of addiction discourses. Refiguring addiction as a kind of intimacy is one way (...) of making sense of the intense relationships people can develop with substances and with activities. (shrink)
No consensus yet exists on how to handle incidental fnd-ings in human subjects research. Yet empirical studies document IFs in a wide range of research studies, where IFs are fndings beyond the aims of the study that are of potential health or reproductive importance to the individual research participant. This paper reports recommendations of a two-year project group funded by NIH to study how to manage IFs in genetic and genomic research, as well as imaging research. We conclude that researchers (...) have an obligation to address the possibility of discovering IFs in their protocol and communications with the IRB, and in their consent forms and communications with research participants. Researchers should establish a pathway for handling IFs and communicate that to the IRB and research participants. We recommend a pathway and categorize IFs into those that must be disclosed to research participants, those that may be disclosed, and those that should not be disclosed. (shrink)
In this paper, I consider the claim that a corporation cannot be held to be morally responsible unless it is a person. First, I argue that this claim is ambigious. Person flags three different but related notions: metaphysical person, moral agent, moral person. I argue that, though one can make the claim that corporates are metaphysical persons, this claim is only marginally relevant to the question of corporate moral responsibility. The central question which must be answered in discussions of corporate (...) moral responsibility is whether corporations are moral agents or moral persons. I argue that, though we can make a case for saying corporations are moral agents, they are not moral persons, and hence, we can hold them responsible. In addition, we need not treat them the way we would be obligated to treat a moral person; we needn't have the same scruples about holding a corporation morally responsible as we would a moral person. (shrink)
Proposing that the interaction between reader and literature involves four “modes of textual engagement” — recognition, enchantment, knowledge, and shock — The Uses of Literature bridges the gap between literary theory and common-sense beliefs about why we read literature.
In contemporary liberal ethics patient autonomy is often interpreted as the right to self-determination: when it comes to treatment decisions, the patient is given the right to give or withhold informed consent. This paper joins in the philosophical and ethical criticism of the liberal interpretation as it does not regard patient autonomy as a right, rule or principle, but rather as a practice. Patient autonomy, or so I will argue, is realised in the concrete activities of day-to-day health care, in (...) the material and technological context of care, in arrangements of health care institutions, in the physical training of people with disabilities, as well as in the concrete activities of care-giving. This move from conversations in the consultation room to other sites and situations in the practice of care takes seriously the empirical reality of medical care and intends to show that patient autonomy is practically realised in a much richer and more creative way than most ethical theory seems to assume. (shrink)
Goal setting is an important professional method and one of the key concepts that structure a practical field such as physical rehabilitation. However, the actual use of goals in rehabilitation practice is much less straightforward than the general acceptance of the method suggests as goals are frequently unattained, modified or contested. In this paper, I will argue that the difficulties of goal setting in day-to-day medical practice can be understood by unravelling the normative assumptions of goal setting, in this case (...) three different tensions that come along with it. First, goals are developed for a future state that may require activities that clash with necessities of the present situation. Second, professionals in clinical rehabilitation centres elaborate goals for an environment that differs in terms of spatial and social characteristics from the environment in the centre, where people train for the accomplishment of goals. Finally, goal setting requires active patient participation and individual control that sometimes appears impossible, unrealistic, and undesirable. I will describe how professionals deal with these tensions in a creative and dynamic way. With my articulation of the assumptions of goal setting, I hope to contribute to the self-reflection of rehabilitation practitioners as well as to theoretical discussions of goal setting in contexts other than rehabilitation. (shrink)
The Gadamer Dictionary is a comprehensive and accessible guide to the world of Hans-Georg Gadamer. Meticulously researched and extensively cross-referenced, this unique book covers all his major works, ideas and influences and provides a firm grounding in the central themes of Gadamer's thought. Students will discover a wealth of useful information, analysis and criticism. A-Z entries include clear definitions of all the key terms used in Gadamer's writings and detailed synopses of his key works, including his magnum opus, Truth and (...) Method. The Dictionary also includes entries on Gadamer's major philosophical influences, from Plato to Heidegger, and his contemporaries, including Derrida and Habermas. It covers everything that is essential to a sound understanding of Gadamer's 'philosophical hermeneutics', offering clear and accessible explanations of often complex terminology. The Gadamer Dictionary is the ideal resource for anyone reading or studying Gadamer or Modern European Philosophy more generally. (shrink)
Our businesses, policies, and lifestyles cause unexamined consequences for other people and other living beings, and exact sweeping destruction on the very ecosystems which support all life, including our own. A major factor contributing to this destructive behavior is the anthropocentric character of the dominant Western world view, which conceives of the nonhuman living world as apart from and less important than the human world, and which conceptualizes nonhuman nature—including animals, plants, ecological systems, the land, and the atmosphere—as inert, silent, (...) passive, and valuable only for its worth as a resource for human consumption. This anthropocentric conceptual framework is constructed, transmitted, and reproduced in the realm of discourse, in all of the modes and avenues through which we make and express cultural meaning. We need to make explicit the ways that mainstream Western and American discourse promotes anthropocentrism and masks, denies, or denigrates interdependence, and we need to find ways to reformulate and reframe our discouse if we are to produce the sort of ecological consciousness that will be essential for creating a sustainable future. (shrink)
We welcome the critical appraisal of the database used by the behavioral sciences, but we suggest that the authors' differentiation between variable and universal features is ill conceived and that their categorization of non-WEIRD populations is misleading. We propose a different approach to comparative research, which takes population variability seriously and recognizes the methodological difficulties it engenders.